Dangerous trend of Instagram 'driving selfies' sweeps the USA
A new craze of Instagram 'driving selfies' is sweeping social media websites in the USA as over 3 million users have posted self-taken snaps of themselves driving.
Using the hash tags 'driving home' and driving selfie', the Instagram users have been putting themselves and fellow road users in danger by taking their hands off the wheel and posing for snaps before uploading them to the popular photography application.
The reckless motorists have been warned by authorities of the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving and have been reminded that distracted drivers were the cause of 3,331 deaths on US roads in 2011.
The risky trend has be likened to texting at the wheel as participants first have to access the application, pose for and take a photograph and then navigate a phone's menu screen to upload and 'tag' the shot.
Dr Linda Degutis, of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in the USA has warned of the increased dangers among younger drivers.
She told The Daily Mail: "It's especially risky for young, inexperienced drivers - who are already extremely vulnerable to crashes - to be distracted when they are behind the wheel. Answering a call or reading a text is never worth a loss of life."
The trend has been brought to the attention of manufacturers in the US who have begun filming and airing expensive adverts to raise awareness of the dangers. Toyota recently released an advert that depicted a car crash through various different Instagram filters with the strapline, "Don't shoot and drive."
Searching the popular photography app throws up a number of worrying hash tags, with more than three million posts tagged #driving, nearly 50,000 posts tagged #drivinghome, more than 9,000 tagged #drivingtowork, and more than 3,500 listed as #driving selfie.
Other users have adorned masks, applied special effects to their pictures and even accompanied posts with comments such as, "I hope I don't crash," and "Cruise control set, time to chill."